Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Guatemalan Drug Trafficker Linked To Los Zetas Drug Cartel
MANHATTAN - - Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the extradition of Horst Walther Overdick-Mejia from Guatemala. Overdick-Mejia was charged in January 2012 with conspiring to import cocaine and possessing firearms in furtherance of that activity. He was arrested on April 3, 2012 in Guatemala, where he was detained pending extradition. Overdick-Mejia was presented and arraigned yesterday before the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, U.S. District Judge.
According to the Indictment and other information in the public record in Guatemala:
Overdick-Mejia is a major Guatemalan drug trafficker who was most recently aligned with Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent and increasingly powerful drug cartels. Los Zetas imports enormous quantities of cocaine through Guatemala and other countries in Central America into Mexico, and then transports cocaine to the United States.
Since 1999, Overdick-Mejia has facilitated the importation of cocaine into Guatemala by securing air strips for planes carrying hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. In 2002, Overdick-Mejia was responsible for the arrival of a 1,200-kilogram cocaine shipment at an airstrip in Guatemala, which he and his associates then transported into Mexico. Overdick-Mejia ultimately began to purchase and oversee the transportation of cocaine from Guatemala to Los Zetas in Mexico.
During this investigation, Guatemalan law enforcement officers recovered videos of Overdick-Mejia with prominent members of Los Zetas in Guatemala at a “narcofiesta,” a large party they hosted in Guatemala, and at a horse race. Guatemalan officers also recovered a drug ledger detailing the movement of guns, narcotics, and deliveries of money to Overdick-Mejia.
Overdick-Mejia , 45, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, knowing and intending that the cocaine would be imported into the United States, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is also charged with one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. This count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, which is comprised of agents and officers of the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security (HSI), the New York State Police, the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Secret Service, the New York National Guard Counter Drug Program, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative. In addition, Mr. Bharara acknowledged the dedicated work of the DEA Guatemala Country Office and thanked the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, and the Republic of Guatemala, for their assistance in this case.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Shane Stansbury is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.